The United States government has assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of its continued support in combating emerging security threats in the country.
The Adjutant General California National Guard, Major General David Baldwin, gave this assurance yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at Headquarters NAF, Abuja.
The director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the visit was undertaken in furtherance of USA-Nigeria military-to-military relations and the State of California Partnership Programme with Nigeria, which has been in existence since 2006.
In his remarks, the Adjutant General reiterated the commitment of the US military towards strengthening the existing military-to-military partnership as well as in ensuring the efficient execution of the contract between the Governments of Nigeria and the USA for the delivery of 12 Super Tucano aircraft to the NAF.
He added that the US military would also be willing to further collaborate with the NAF in the areas of Air-Ground Integration, intelligence gathering and sharing, pilot training as well as capacity development for cyber warfare, amongst others.
In his response, the CAS thanked the Adjutant General for the assurances given and the assistance rendered by the US military to Nigeria over the years.
Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the story of the successes recorded in the counter insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast of Nigeria would not be complete without due mention of the support and contributions of the US military and government to Nigeria.
He remarked that this was crucial because, in his view, it was in the interest of the international community to have a secure, stable Nigeria, given the devastating effects a destabilised Nigeria would have on West Africa and Africa as a whole.
Air Marshal Abubakar, who further solicited for the support of the US military to achieve the establishment of an Air-Ground Integration School in Kaduna, also lauded the magnanimity of the US military for training several NAF pilots, including the first Nigerian female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, who, he said, would be winged sometime in the month of October.
The CAS also solicited assistance for the provision of spares and technical support in maintenance of C-130 Hercules aircraft, noting that the NAF had conducted in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on two aircraft and would soon commence work on the third one.
He stated that the US could still support with additional capability to enhance the process. The CAS equally intimated the Adjutant General of the NAF’s preparedness to receive the Super Tucano aircraft, disclosing that adequate facilities had been emplaced to accommodate, secure and effectively utilise the aircraft.
As partners, Nigeria and the California National Guard have had over 100 military-to-military bilateral engagements including: Military Intelligence, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Training, Combat Medic, Military Aviation as well as Military Law and Disaster Response/Emergency Management.
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